Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raavan reminds me of Kamal Hassan's 'Guna'

After my experience of 'Raavan', I was wondering what Maniratnam possibly could have attempted before ending up with this product. It is not unusual for serious filmmakers to envision something on paper and end up failing to convey the same on the celluloid. But as far as I know, this is first such case for MR. After all he is supposed to be a dictator on the sets while shooting who wouldn't just let unless he gets the desired sequence and frame to the T. So what possibly did MR attempt?

I am now reminded about the yesteryear Kamal Hassan starred 'Guna' in a odd way. The protagonist there was mentally unsound. He kidnaps a lady to the hills of Kodaikanal and the lady who initially finds him repelling later knowing him changes and even gets married to him. The police who were in search of the lady with all their good intentions play spoiler for the couple and end up harming them. I still remember watching that movie and in the end feeling something deep inside. An irony that a socially unacceptable guy melts our hearts with his emotions while the police with their brute power and our mandate are unfit to comprehend the emotions and play anti-hero. This concept I guess served as a sub-plot in quite a few movies. Here, I guess MR planned to make something like this a main plot on a lavish scale with the Bachchans, AR Rahman's score.


As said in my previous post, I thought MR started with a backdrop of anti-government forces like the so-called Maoists in the the jungles. He could have possibly thought of personifying the deep jungles and its Beera analogically with Lanka and Raavan of the mythology. Beera was supposed to evoke fear. AB Jr didn't.

The Ram-like character Dev is supposed to be strict law-enforcing officer. His uniform itself was supposed to imply his Ram-like characteristics and his actions are supposed to add grey shades. But this didn't translate and he ended up a card board character in RayBans.

Raavan
is a very ambitious project and it is such a tragedy that it does not even remotely look like one now. This is in the series of project like Kannathil Muthamittal, Ayutha Ezuthu, Guru and as an idea clearly reflected Maniratnam's ambition. This is what I think is Maniratnam's second innings and I am yet to see him score.

1 comment:

prasad said...

Having seen the tamil version 'Raavanan' the other day, I can't help but appreciate - its sheer poetry !
There obviously isn't much difference between the two except for casting and language. The tamil version seems to add a bit of
back-story to its dialogue,filling out some of the logical gaps many found in Hindi version,making it more 'straight-forward'.
But to me,the gaps in Raavan went a long way in making the movie a memorable experience,in the sense that they made me more
active in working with the visual cues/imagery in order to glean answers.
Also, there is a certain 'evenness' found in Veera's characterization,but here again I fell for Beera's 'uneven' character -
enigmatic,mysterious,stranger-nonetheless I really enjoyed both versions.

//backdrop of anti-government forces like the so-called Maoists in the the jungles//
Beera's characterization,his community's oppression,the talk about haves and have-nots,I think are loosely inspired by Operation
Green Hunt.

//he ended up a card board character in RayBans//
seems like a very obvious attempt by Mani and his team to camouflage the fact that Dev looks exactly like Beera, in many scenes,
considering he’s playing that role in Tamil.

I remember reading a quote somewhere,that goes by "some goals are so worthy that it's glorious even to fail".
Raavan might be a failure but a very ambitious one at that,a classic case study of the most underrated,misunderstood movie(easily
replacing Iruvar)in Mani's repertoire,which would stir up quite a debate among the fraternity which still believes in quality
cinema.The writer,in Mani,is alive and at his best !

***On a sidenote,in the Raavanan show yesterday,there were just about a dozen viewers,bachelors included;I was expecting some sort of a ridicule at the end.But I could see that no one was even moving in their seats long after the grand finale,the ending credits - It was really overwhelming !
Ofcourse,that last piece by ARR/Vairamuthu/Gulzar was just too gud to let go of :)